In the April 21 newspaper, Amy Calder recounted the story of Deborah Klane and her son, Ethan, who was cut off from nursing care to help with his special needs.
Ethan, described as having cerebral palsy, had nursing assistance 24 hours a day from birth through MaineCare.
Recently, certain Democrats have claimed that Ethan was denied further nursing care because of MaineCare “cuts” under Republican-led budgets. This is not true.
Ethan lost his round-the-clock nursing when he turned 21. The school-based MaineCare program handles all eligible minors; at 21, however, those recipients are shifted to the regular MaineCare program.
For years, severely disabled people older 21 have been put on a waiting list for services because MaineCare funds were insufficient to care for them. That was the system under Democrat control, and the waiting lists still contain hundreds of people. As of June 1, in fact, 1,070 individuals were on waiting lists.
The supplemental budget for the Department of Health and Human Services — primarily for MaineCare — was passed on May 15. That budget contains a new $1 million appropriation to begin reducing the waiting lists. With the federal match, the total will be nearly $3 million.
This new money will begin the process of making sure that some of the severely handicapped, as well as others with autism and other problems, can move off the lists and into regular care.
This is believed to be the first supplemental budget ever that has contained specific line items for these waiting lists. It is unfortunate that, in the House, only one Democrat voted for this budget.
Rep. John Picchiotti